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Meet Your Mariners: Leonys Martin Addition

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

 

In the last week or so, I’ve been getting a lot of questions from people wondering what to make of all these trades we’ve seen in such a short amount of time, and it really has been a busy first couple of weeks for new General Manager Jerry Dipoto.

Firstly, let’s all give a hearty welcome to new Mariners, Leonys Martin, Joaquim Benoit, Anthony Bass, Boog Powel, Nathan Karns and C.J. Riefenhauser.

Welcome to Safeco Field, gentlemen. You’ll find a long-sleeved shirt and some locally roasted coffee in your locker.

Secondly, let’s all take a moment to bid adieu to former Mariners Logan Morrison, Brad Miller, Tom Wilhelmsen, Danny Farquar and James Jones. Sometimes change is hard, but the reality is, it’s also usually good for everybody involved. We’ve had some good times, but obviously none of those times were good enough. 

Change is hard. When you know the faces and names of players, you know their flaws and their stories, it’s hard to suddenly find out while innocently scrolling through Facebook that we’re not going to see them at the ballpark anymore. We all know about how Tom Wilhelmsen quit baseball and was bartending in the southwest for a time before making his way back and dominating for a time as a closer. 

Some of us have looked at Brad Miller’s numbers and thought, Damn, this guy might actually be really, really good if he can figure out a couple of things. Miller’s set of skills as a middle-infielder with power and the ability to take a walk always made him an interesting player, and lead plenty of smarter baseball people than myself to think he could be one of the more valuable shortstops in the league sooner than later. Frankly, I’m surprised Billy Beane hasn’t found a way to get a hold of him yet.

Those guys were likeable and talented players, but they were expendable, and it’s a great sign for the Mariners that Dipoto isn’t attached to them. 

Mr. Dipoto has done exactly what he said he would thus far. He wanted to get more athletic in the outfield and add speed and defense. In Leonys Martin, the Mariners newest addition, he acquired one of the better defensive centerfielders in the league. Martin had a down year in 2015, hitting a meager .219/.264/.313. Those numbers were likely impacted by a hand injury and a battle for playing time that he apparently lost to Delino Deshields.

When healthy, he projects to be roughly a .260/.320/.680 hitter with a cannon for an arm, 30+ steal capability and incredible defense at one of the most important positions on the field. 

If Leonys can get back on track, he’ll be an extremely valuable player that Dipoto bought low on. It’s worth noting that he’s hit over .290 in Safeco field and played his best baseball under Texas Rangers interim-manager, Tim Bogar, who is now the bench coach for your Seattle Mariners. Factor all of that stuff into trade and I love this move. Seriously, you guys are going to enjoy watching this guy play centerfield at Safeco Field.

The Mariners now have outfield options including Nelson Cruz, Seth Smith, Leonys Martin, Franklin Gutierrez, Boog Powell and Shawn O’Malley. And Dipoto says he’s not done adding to that group! So far, he’s done what he’s said he would every step of the way. I’d look for the Mariners to find a way to add an outfielder who can play at least two outfield spots well and hit for some power. 

While the Mariners do have Nelson Cruz, common sense and a little simple math will show you that he’s a much more valuable player if he’s not playing defense at all. I know that he wants to be out there in the field, but I’m hoping that isn’t going to be the plan too many days of the week. Jerry Dipoto seems focused on finding players with a higher on-base percentage, and he’s done a good job finding them. But think about this: on a day when Cruz is your DH you might end up with an outfield including Seth Smith, Leonys Martin and Franklin Gutierrez. Not exactly an offensive juggernaut. And with Trumbo as your only real first basemen, as Montero still hasn’t proven he can play at the major-league level, you don’t really have a proven DH behind Nelson Cruz either. 

I love the moves Dipoto has made so far, but I think they still need to sign Iwakuma, sign a back-up catcher and obtain an outfielder with a proven bat. If they can do that, I think they’ll be just about done.  

Some rumors circulating the M’s have been about their interest in Chris Iannetta. Iannetta makes a lot of sense, as he’s a catcher who can get on base and played in Anaheim when Dipoto was the GM for the Angels. I think a deal will get done in the next couple of weeks, if Iannetta is willing to play behind Zunino.

As far as outfielders with some pop goes, the pickings are slim. And many of the players that are available would cost the Mariners a draft pick, as the team would lose a pick if they sign a player who received a qualifying offer from their previous club. 

The obvious, and probably unlikely answer, is Yoenis Cespedes. Because he was traded midseason in 2015, Cespedes cannot receive a qualifying offer, which makes him one of the more interesting sluggers on the market. Also, he can hit and play all three outfield positions.

Cespedes comes with some risks, as his defense has been streaky and some speculate that he’s actually older than his listed age of 31. Scandalous, right?

He has put up some great numbers though and has the tools to garner a large multiyear deal from some team, and I’d be surprised if the ownership group in Seattle is willing to add another long term, multi-million dollar contract.  

Cespedes would make our batting order terrifying. A murderers row of Cano, Cruz, Seager, Cespedes and Trumbo could make for some lopsided wins. The Mariners lost far too many close games last year and it would be refreshing to be on the right side of a few more lopsided wins in 2016.

It’s nice to have our heads in the clouds, thinking about Cespedes coming to Seattle, but we’re probably just dreaming. The good news is, for once I don’t feel like I’m setting myself up for disappointment. Even if we don’t go after Cespedes, Dipoto has said he’s planning on adding another outfielder, and prioritizing the re-signing of Hisashi Iwakuma. And so far, I’ve been a fan of every move he’s made. I’m feeling a strange and unfamiliar feeling toward a Seattle GM, I think it’s called… trust?

It’s only been a couple of weeks since the Royals took home the trophy, and our Mariners have already made three pretty significant trades. The Winter Meetings are right around the corner, pitchers and catchers will be reporting before we know it, and I can’t wait to meet the next players we’ll be welcoming to Seattle.

GoLocalPDX partner Oregon Sports News: Since 2011, Oregon Sports News has provided entertaining, hard-hitting local sports news & commentary every weekday. To read more from this author, check out Oregon Sports News by clicking here.

 

Related Slideshow: Oregon’s Most Devastating Sports Injuries

Here is GoLocalPDX's list of Oregon's most devastating injuries that have occured within the past 10 years.

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Greg Oden

Sept. 2007 — Micro fracture surgery on right knee

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Nov. 2010 — Micro fracture surgery on left knee

Dec. 2011 — Arthroscopic surgery on right knee

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Dennis Dixon

Nov. 2007 — Torn left ACL

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Brandon Roy

Sept. 2008 — Cartilage removed from left knee

April 2010 — Meniscus tear in right knee

Jan. 2011 — Arthroscopic surgery on both knees

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James Rodgers

Oct. 2009 — Torn left ACL

After participating in only 4 games during the 2009 season Rodgers went down with a torn ACL while playing against #9 Arizona. This couldn't have come at a worse time for Rodgers considering he was expected to have a breakout season. Rodgers, who was a senior at the time, was able to end his career at Oregon State as the career leader in all-purpose yards.

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Joel Pryzbilla

Dec. 2009 — Ruptured right patella tendon and dislocated patella

In December of 2009 the Trail Blazers' backup center, Joel Pryzbilla, was lost for the season with a ruptured and dislocated patella. This was a huge blow to the Trailblazers' frontcourt because they had already lost Oden for the season a few weeks before. Pryzbilla was also the team's defensive anchor who provided an inside presence. "The Vanilla Gorilla" was sorely missed for the rest of the year.

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LaMichael James

Oct. 2011 — Dislocated right elbow

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Nate Costa

Nov. 2010 —Torn Right ACL

After suffering a multitude of knee injuries throughout his career at Oregon Costa was forced to officially retire from football after tearing his ACL for the third time in agame against Washington. Although Costa's career was hobbled by injuries many of his teammates looked to him as their leader. Oregon's coaching staff referred to Costa as the "heart and soul" of the 2010 team that won the Rose Bowl.

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Sean Mannion

Oct. 2012 — Torn Left Meniscus

During the beginning of the 2012-2013 season, Sean Mannion was enjoying one of his best as a Beaver. Unfortunately, he tore his left meniscus against Washington State that resulted in him missing around half the season. With Mannion leading the way the Beavers had the Pac-12's fourth rated offense, averaging 459.5 yeards per game. With Mannion sidelined Cody Vaz became the starting quarterback

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Marcus Mariota

Oct. 2013 — Partial MCL Tear

Marcus Mariota is widely regarded as one of the greatest Oregon Duck quarterbacks to ever play at Autzen. Unfortunately a knee injury hobbled his sophomore season. After Mariota suffered a partial MCL tear against UCLA he conintued to play the remainder of the season. With Mariota's knee not allowing him to be as mobile as he was accustomed to teams were able to take advantage. In the weeks following the injury the Ducks suffered losses to Stanford and Arizona. Duck fans everywhere would like to know what that season woud've loked like if Mariota had stayed healthy.

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CJ McCollum

Oct. 2013 — Broken fifth Metatarsal In Left Foot

After being taken 10th overall during the 2013 NBA Draft the shooting guard out of Lehigh wasn't able to start his career the way many had hoped. After breaking the fifth metatarsal bone in his left foot the rookie wasn't able to take the court until January of 2014. Before the injury McCollum was in consideration for playing time behind Lillard. 

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Alex Morgan

Oct. 2013 — Stress reaction in talus bone

During the 2013 season Morgan suffered an injury that doctors misdiagnosed as a mildly sprained ankle. After a few additional tests were performed it turned out that Morgan had suffered a far more serious injury. She actually suffered a stress reaction in the talus bone that put her immediate future with Team USA in question. After rehabbing for 7 months Morgan was able to make a full recovery.

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Bralon Addison

April 2014 — Torn left ACL

After exceeding expectations as a freshman and sophomore at the University of Oregon Addison was expecting big things from his junior year. Unfortunately, Addison suffered a torn ACL during last year's spring practice that kept him sidelined the entire year. Without Addison in the lineup the receiving core never lived up to their full potential. If he had been able to play this season the National Championship may have wielded a different outcome.

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Ifo Ekpre-Olomu

Dec. 2014 — Torn ACL

In preparation for the first ever college football playoffs Ekpre-Olomu ended up tearing his ACL during a routine practice. This was a huge blow to the Ducks considering Ekpre-Olomu was one of the team's better defenders. He was also one of the best corners in the country who many analysists expected to be selected as high as the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft.

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Wesley Matthews

March 2015 — Torn left achilles

Just 2 months before Matthews suffered a torn achilles he had become the Trailblazers' all-time leader in 3-point field goals made. It looked as though the Trailblazers were poised to make a deep playoff run. Things took a drastic turn when Matthews was lost for the season. With the team in a 0-2 hole against the Memphis Grizzlies it doesn't look as though they will be making it to the second round of the playoffs this year.

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